The information in this paper has been sourced directly from Centrelink primarily. There have been more than one set of measures announced so this isn’t a comprehensive guide to everything. Most payments are sourced from Centrelink.
The major payments are
- A six-monthly supplement of $550 fortnight paid to those who qualify as job seekers or for youth allowance or parenting payments.
Note that you have to meet the qualifying criteria if you have lost your job or had your hours and income reduced to be eligible for youth allowance or as a job seeker. Anyone who receives a payment now will automatically receive the supplement with their normal payment. Supplementary payments will be made beginning April 27th.
- A one-off payment of $750 Economic Support payment – see below for the list of recipients who qualify but note these include Age and Disability Pensioners.
You don’t need to apply for this
payment; it will automatically be paid to eligible recipients. Eligible
recipients include anyone already receiving Centrelink payments and those new
to Centrelink who apply by April 13. You’ll get the money from 31 March with
most getting it by 17 April 2020.
Payments from Centrelink
1. Job seekers, Youth Allowance and the Coronavirus supplement
Due to coronavirus, the Government has expanded the Jobseeker and Youth Allowance for job seekers criteria meaning more people are now eligible. From April 27, you’ll be eligible if you’re:
- A permanent employee who has been stood down or sacked
- A sole trader, self-employed, casual worker or contract worker who now earns less than $1,075 a fortnight as a result of the economic downturn
- You’re caring for someone who has COVID-19
The Jobseeker and Youth Allowance payments are tapered, meaning if you earn $0 for the fortnight you’ll get the full welfare payment, but if you still have some income (but remain below the income threshold) you will receive a portion of the payment.
But even if you’re only eligible for a tiny Jobseeker or Youth Allowance payment, you will receive the full $550 a fortnight Coronavirus Supplement.
It is an additional top-up payment for people on welfare, which effectively doubles the full Jobseeker (formerly known as Newstart) allowance. The Government announced people receiving the following payments would automatically get the supplement:
- JobSeeker Payment
- Youth Allowance for job seekers
- Parenting Payment
- Farm Household Allowance
- Special Benefit
- Youth Allowance for students
- Austudy for students
- ABSTUDY for students
The Coronavirus Supplement will be automatically added to welfare payments for six months from April 27.
2. Payments available
To get a payment from Centrelink, you’ll need to meet all the eligibility rules including residence rules and income tests. You may get a payment in any of the following circumstances. If you’re:
- not able to work or don’t have work
- in isolation or hospitalised
- caring for children.
You may get 1 of the following payments:
If you’re claiming Youth Allowance as a job seeker or JobSeeker payment, Centrelink may need information about your employment situation. This includes if you’re still working but there’s a reduction in your hours or earnings. You can submit your claim using either your:
Centrelink have changed the rules for people affected by coronavirus. You may be exempt from mutual obligation or participation requirements. Centrelink have waived all of the following:
- ordinary waiting period
- liquid asset test waiting period
- newly arrived residents waiting period
- seasonal work preclusion period.
3. How to register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment – coronavirus (COVID-19)
If you’re affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), you can register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment. You don’t need to complete a full claim right now. You can register your intention to claim at a time and place that works for you. Centrelink will backdate your payment. You don’t need to come into a service centre to register your intention to claim. You can do it through https://my.gov.au/
If you don’t have a mygov account you can create one using this link
Once you’ve registered your intention to make a claim, Centrelink will contact you to let you know what the next steps are.
- If you have a myGov account linked to Medicare or Australian Taxation Office you can register your intention to claim.
- If you have a myGov account not linked to Medicare or Australian Taxation Office then link it to one of the above or Centrelink itself.
- If you don’t have a myGov account, then you will need to set one up. You can do this at a Centrelink office but preferably online at https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/online-help/create-mygov-account
- If you have a myGov account linked to Centrelink, you can sign in to myGov and choose to either:
- go to your Centrelink online account and start your claim now; or
- register your intention to claim on the myGov Welcome screen.
If you’ve lost your job or income has reduced due to coronavirus (COVID-19), and are:
- 21 or younger, you may be able to claim Youth Allowance for job seekers
- between 22 and Age Pension age you may be able to claim JobSeeker Payment
- a young child’s main carer you may be able to claim Parenting Payment.
Links to the various payments and information including qualifying conditions are https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/youth-allowance-job-seekers
4. Who gets the $750 Economic Support Payments?
Centrelink will pay you the $750 one off Economic Support Payment if you’re living in Australia and get an eligible payment between 12 March 2020 and 13 April 2020. You don’t need to apply for this payment; it will automatically be paid to eligible recipients. Eligible recipients include anyone already receiving Centrelink payments and those new to Centrelink who apply by April 13. You’ll get the money from 31 March with most getting it by 17 April 2020.
Those who aren’t eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement, such as disability or age pensioners, may also get a second Economic Support Payment to be paid around July.
Eligible payments include:
- Age Pension
- Disability Support Pension
- Carer Payment
- Carer Allowance
- Parenting Payment
- Wife Pension
- Widow B Pension
- ABSTUDY (Living Allowance)
- Bereavement Allowance
- Newstart Allowance
- Youth Allowance
- Partner Allowance
- Sickness Allowance
- Special Benefit
- Widow Allowance
- Farm Household Allowance
- Family Tax Benefit A
- Family Tax Benefit B
- Double Orphan Pension.
You’ll also get the payment if you have 1 of the following concession cards:
- Pensioner Concession Card
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
- Veteran Gold Card.
You’ll also get the payment if you get 1 of the following Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments:
- Veteran Service Pension
- Veteran Income Support Supplement
- Veteran Compensation payments, including lump sum payments
- War Widow(er) Pension.
You’ll only get 1 payment, even if you get more than 1 qualifying payment or card.
It won’t be counted as income for social security and family tax benefit payments, aged care fees and charges, Farm Household Allowance and veterans’ payments. It’s tax exempt. Centrelink won’t use this payment to pay off an existing Centrelink or Child Support debt.
5. Superannuation Access
Individuals affected by the coronavirus can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. You will be able to apply for early release of your superannuation from mid-April 2020.
To apply for early release, you must satisfy any one or more of the following requirements:
- you are unemployed; or
- you are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance; or
- on or after 1 January 2020: you were made redundant; or your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more; or if you are a sole trader — your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.
People accessing their superannuation will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.
How to apply
If you are eligible for this new ground of early release, you can apply directly to the ATO through the myGov website: www.my.gov.au.
You will need to certify that you meet the above eligibility criteria. After the ATO has processed your application, they will issue you with a determination. The ATO will also provide a copy of this determination to your superannuation fund, which will advise them to release your superannuation payment. Your fund will then make the payment to you, without you needing to apply to them directly.
However, to ensure you receive your payment as soon as possible, you should contact your fund to check that they have your correct details, including your current bank account details and proof of identity documents. Separate arrangements will apply if you are a member of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF). Further guidance will be available on the ATO website: www.ato.gov.au.
You will be able to apply for early release of your
superannuation from mid-April 2020.
Links for Help with Coronavirus